According to a Microsoft KB article published last Thursday, Microsoft may soon begin blocking systems running Kaby Lake or AMD Ryzen CPUs from installing updates if they’re running Windows 7 or Windows 8.1. The KB article (KB 4012982) applies to users who attempt to update one of those two operating systems, but receive an error message notifying them that their CPU is not supported or a Code 8024003 error (unknown error).
In both cases, according to Microsoft, the root cause is that you are using a CPU that isn’t recognized as compatible with Windows. These CPUs include:
- Intel seventh (7th)-generation processors
- AMD “Bristol Ridge”
- Qualcomm “8996″
Microsoft continues: “Because of how this support policy is implemented, Windows 8.1 and Windows 7 devices that have a seventh generation or a later generation processor may no longer be able to scan or download updates through Windows Update or Microsoft Update.”
The solution — you guessed it — is to upgrade to Windows 10.
Mountain or molehill?
This is the kind of issue that could kick off a whole new round of Windows 10 hate-bashing, but it’s not at all clear if anyone has actually had this happen to them.
What makes this particularly confusing is that AMD itself has gone back and forth on the Windows 7/8.1 support question. Last summer, the company confirmed that its Bristol Ridge chipset wouldn’t support any Microsoft OS but Windows 10. Later, the company backtracked on that claim, saying it would release drivers for the OS. AMD has made it clear to us that these releases aren’t formally supported. As we’ve previously discussed, you probably can continue to shove older versions of Windows on to newer platforms, but as time passes, the number of hoops you’ll have to jump through to get everything working is only going to grow.
Intel’s Skylake was originally only going to support Windows 7 and 8.1 for 18 months, but Microsoft eventually walked that claim back before dumping the idea altogether. Nevertheless, they’ve always said that Bristol Ridge, Kaby Lake, and Qualcomm 8996 or above would always require Windows 10.
The other possibility is that Microsoft intends to push a Windows Update to Windows 7 or 8.1 that will prevent them from being updated again on new hardware, but has not yet done so. Until we know how many people have actually been impacted by this problem (if any), I’d keep the pitchforks and torches unlit.
If you’ve purchased either a Kaby Lake or Ryzen system and loaded a pre-Windows 10 Microsoft OS, it may be in your best interest to patch it up completely, immediately, and create an updated installation image to ensure you’ll still have access to security and feature updates that exist today in the event that Microsoft shuts down access in the future. Meanwhile, please let us know if you’ve installed Ryzen to either Windows 7 or 8.1 and seen any of these messages.
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